If maximizing points and miles on big purchases is your thing, Plastiq can help. The payment platform is popular among people who want to earn rewards for expenses that cannot normally be charged to a credit card. We’re talking rent and mortgage payments, taxes, college tuition, a new car, and pretty much everything in between.
And we have good news for those who were previously disappointed to hear that their card was not accepted by Plastiq. Recently, Plastiq started accepting American Express cards again, and personal Capital One cards can now be used for eligible payments.
But before you get too excited about the miles you’ll earn by paying for your child’s college tuition, keep in mind that Plastiq does charge fees. There are also restrictions on the types of payments you can make with specific credit cards.
Below we discuss some solutions to these problems, along with everything else you need to know about Plastiq.
What is Plastiq?
Plastiq is a payment platform that allows you to pay and accept almost any invoice with a debit or credit card. It’s a great option to earn points on expenses you wouldn’t normally be able to put on a credit card. This includes your major living expenses, such as housing, cars, and tuition.
You can pay these sellers with a credit card and Plastiq will send them a check or bank transfer on your behalf. It also has Plastiq Accept for small businesses and a global payment solution.
You can even set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about having to manually schedule them every month.
Plastiq fees and how to avoid them
Plastiq currently charges credit card processing fees of up to 2.9%. You may be able to offset these costs by signing up with a referral link and referring others to the platform.
You will also pay a flat fee ranging from €0.99 to €39 depending on how your payment is delivered, for example by bank transfer, check or wire transfer.
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You’ll earn free bonus dollars when you sign up through a referral link or by referring someone who makes $2,500 in payments during the first 30 days of signing up.
While the 2.9% fee can be difficult to justify, Plastiq occasionally runs promotions that reduce the fee. In the past, it has sent out targeted offers for lower fees or free bonus dollars that you can apply to future payments.
To make sure you don’t miss these promotions, sign up to receive email notifications from Plastiq. Whether you’re being targeted with a special offer or notified of public promotions, signing up for email notifications will ensure you don’t miss out on these deals.
Related: How to achieve your card’s minimum spend bonus
The Plastiq Referral Program
If you have a lot of friends and family who would like to earn miles on big purchases, you can earn free dollars by referring them to Plastiq. You’ll earn 2,500 FFDs for each person you refer who makes $2,500 in payments during the first 30 days after he or she signs up. Occasionally you can also earn bonus FFDs during a promotion.
Please note that FFDs expire 90 days after issuance. An easy way to ensure they don’t expire is to use them towards your mortgage or rent payments every month. These are undoubtedly high enough to use up any expiring FFDs you have lying around.
The best credit cards for Plastiq bill payments
The best credit cards for Plastiq bill payments earn rewards that are more valuable than the fees you incur. Using Plastiq to meet the spending requirements for a card with a big welcome offer is another great option.
For example the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. If you’re having trouble meeting the spending requirement, Plastiq is an option to make it happen.
Likewise, a credit card that offers elite status or annual spending bonuses would also be a strong contender for Plastiq bill payments. If the card you use earns more than 1 point per dollar spent, that’s even better.
Related: The Top 6 Credit Cards to Maximize Major Purchases
How does Plastiq work?
Plastiq is quite easy to use. After you sign up, you can add credit cards to your wallet and set up payment profiles. You can set up one-time or recurring payments for almost any merchant. When you pay by credit card, Plastiq pays the merchant via check or wire transfer.
As it can take up to 11 days for payments to be received, please take this into account when choosing your payment options.
Plastiq has a payment calendar on which you can see when the payment will take place, so that you can adjust the payment date accordingly. If you make a payment at the last minute, you can pay extra to expedite payment.
How to add a new receiver in Plastiq
If you are making a payment for the first time or adding a new supplier, you will need to log in and click the blue plus sign to ‘make a payment’.
On the next screen for ‘Who do you want to pay?’ type the name of the supplier. The system searches the network to see if your supplier is registered. If not, you can add the information manually.
You can send your payment via paper check, direct deposit, or domestic wire transfer. Wire transfer is the fastest option, while paper checks can take up to 11 days to process.
You will pay the cheapest fees when using bank transfer, bill payment or EFT ($0.99). Checks cost a little more ($1.49), while domestic and international wire transfers are the most expensive ($8.99 and $39, respectively).
Payments by cheque
If you want Plastiq to send your payment by check, you will be asked to provide the recipient’s address.
Finally, you must specify the services provided by the vendor. Options include business purchasing, clubs and membership, general inventory, labor and payroll, and insurance.
ACH and wire
For automated clearinghouse or wire transfers, you will be asked to enter the vendor name, bank account number, and routing number.
Paying via Plastiq is easy and only requires a few simple steps. Once you add a recipient, you can bypass most of these steps for future payments.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles
Frequently asked questions about Plastiq
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received about Plastiq:
Which bills can you pay with Plastiq?
With a credit card you can pay almost any bill or merchant through Plastiq. This includes your rent, mortgage, car payments, your landscaper, and pretty much everything in between.
The only payment restrictions apply to ‘debt products’, investments and other people. Plastiq is intended as a consumer-to-business product, so you can’t use it as a Venmo alternative to send money to friends or family.
Which credit cards does Plastiq accept?
Plastiq accepts many major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club. However, keep in mind that there are limitations on the bills you can pay with each card type.
Plastiq has a handy guide to all the different bills you can pay with your eligible card.
Can I use Plastiq to pay a credit card bill?
Unfortunately, you cannot use Plastiq to make a credit card payment as this falls under the “debt product” restriction. Although a mortgage is technically a debt product, Plastiq makes an exception by allowing you to pay for it with a credit card. That’s pretty handy, since mortgage payments are a big expense for most people, and there’s not really another way to earn points while paying them.
What are some alternatives to Plastiq?
There are a number of alternatives to Plastiq, depending on the type of bill you pay. If you want to pay taxes with a credit card, a cheaper option is to use an IRS-approved payment processor. Many accept credit cards for less than a 2% processing fee.
If you want to use a credit card to pay rent without transaction fees, consider the Bilt Mastercard®. This no-annual-fee card (see rates and fees) allows you to pay rent and earn points where you might not otherwise be able to.
TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.
If you want to earn points with tuition payments, check with your university first as you may pay lower card processing fees than Plastiq – or none at all.
PayPal is an option for peer-to-peer payments with a credit card, as Plastiq does not allow these types of payments. The platform charges 2.9% plus a processing fee of $0.30 per transaction. That brings your total for a $1,000 payment to $29.30.
Related: The best way to pay your credit card bills
When is it worth using Plastiq?
With the costs involved, you may wonder if Plastiq is worth it. There are a few scenarios where a 2.9% fee makes sense.
For starters, if you’re trying to meet a large spending requirement to earn a credit card sign-up bonus, Plastiq may be worth considering. You’ll pay around $29 per $1,000 payment, which could be worth it depending on the size of the sign-up bonus.
For example the Ink company is preferred currently offers 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 in the first three months of opening an account. Making $8,000 in payments through Plastiq will cost you about $232 in fees. While that’s certainly not a small amount, keep in mind that you can redeem the Ink Preferred welcome bonus for a trip worth $1,250 booked through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Even if you exchange some of your sign-up bonus for cash back to offset the 1 cent per point Plastiq fee, you still come out ahead.
Our recommendation, of course, is to transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners to redeem premium awards. By going this route, you can earn over $2,000 in value.
Plastiq is a solid option if you want to earn points on large purchases or need a little help meeting a large spending need. While the 2.9% fee can be significant, you can save by signing up with a referral link or referring others. An occasional promotion can also eliminate a large portion of those costs. And if using Plastiq gets you a big credit card sign-up bonus, redeeming it for a valuable reward can also take away the hassle of paying those fees.
For rates and fees of the Bilt Mastercard, click here.
For Bilt Mastercard rewards and benefits, click here.